Prospects for Taiwan’s Participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership

PIIE Briefing
16-7
September 2016

Taiwan has long faced declining competitiveness due to both slow domestic economic reforms and discrimination from nonparticipation in many free trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region, which have caused (or threatened) trade and investment diversion. Participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could mitigate much of the discrimination faced by Taiwanese exporters and investors in Asia-Pacific markets. To join, Taiwan would need to undertake significant policy reforms to meet TPP requirements for liberalization of goods, services, investment, and other areas including the environment and intellectual property rights (IPRs). In some areas Taiwan’s existing bilateral agreements with China and TPP members New Zealand and Singapore have significant gaps with TPP standards, while others should not be as difficult to bridge. The Briefing also considers the status of US-Taiwan trade and investment relations and outstanding bilateral irritants, including concerns over agricultural market access and animal health and safety regulations, Taiwanese foreign direct investment restrictions and approval process, IPRs, and exchange rate policy. Resolving these issues will be critical for US support for Taiwan’s TPP participation.